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News :: Globalization : Human Rights : Labor : Social Welfare
Retirees and union members blow the whistle on GE’s low pension and health care benefits
04 Oct 2005
Lynn, MA -- General Electric retirees led a rally in front of the Riverworks plant on Sept. 29 calling attention to the company’s skimpy pension benefits that have not kept up with the rising cost of living -- especially skyrocketing health costs. The retirees were joined by current GE employees, Local 201 and other union leaders, and several community supporters. At the rally, retirees used a cell phone to call GE CEO Jeffrey R. Immelt at the company’s corporate headquarters in Fairfield, CT. Unable to reach him, they sent a message by blowing whistles and playing a new protest song, “The Plight of the GE Pensioneer.”
IUE-CWA.jpg
At the rally, retirees used a cell phone to call GE CEO Jeffrey R. Immelt at the company’s corporate headquarters in Fairfield, CT. Unable to reach him, they sent a message by blowing whistles and playing a new protest song, “The Plight of the GE Pensioneer.”

“Hundreds of thousands of GE retirees are living on fixed incomes, while the cost of living is going up,” said Kevin Mahar, president of the Local 201 GE Retirees Association. “GE’s pension is over-funded by $6.7 billion. GE's profits were up ten percent last year. It can easily afford to improve our benefits.”

“The attack on the standard of living of our retirees is a national disgrace,” said Jeff Crosby, president of IUE-CWA Local 201. “Retiree medical costs are climbing, but GE has granted only tiny increases to its pensioners. Some are living on a few hundred dollars a month even after working for GE for decades.”

"The retirees' fight is our fight," said Alex Brown, Local 201 Vice-President. "Our job security and opportunity for advancement depends on older workers having the confidence to take early retirement. During our last round of contract negotiations, members pushed hard at the bargaining table to win a pension improvement and GE eventually gave most retirees an additional monthly, or ‘13th’ benefit check.”

Retirement security is rapidly deteriorating in America. Only half as many people now have defined benefit pension plans as had them 25 years ago. President Bush has also pushed to cut Social Security benefits through a privatization plan.

“The struggle by GE employees to retire with dignity is part of a much larger fight for retirement security for all working people,” said Carly Moskowitz, a young organizer for the Essex County Community Organization. “Young and old need to stick together to stop Corporate America from privatizing Social Security and stealing our pension funds.”

A fact sheet on the GE Employee Pension Trust and a copy of the lyrics from “The Plight of the GE Pensioneer” and are available from IUE-CWA Local 201.

(Pictured below is Local 201 Retirees Council President Kevin Mahar pushing GE retiree and Lynn resident Joseph Castaldo who is 87 years old.)
Click on image for a larger version

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Click on image for a larger version

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See also:
http://www.geretirees.com

This work is in the public domain.
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Re: Retirees and union members blow the whistle on GE’s low pension and health care benefits
04 Oct 2005
this event sounds great! got any pictures?
Re: Retirees and union members blow the whistle on GE’s low pension and health care benefits
04 Oct 2005
GE must meet its contractual obligations to these retirees.

Anything else is just a handout.
Re: Retirees and union members blow the whistle on GE’s low pension and health care benefits
06 Oct 2005
i worked for rca, nbc, and ge for 25 years
and retired as director of program mgmt.
i get $724 dollars a month and have not received
a penny for inflation etc. aside from the fact
i have no health insurance from ge. and
they discounted my 5 years with rca microwave
in harrison nj.

i am totally unhappy with this

gene palma
Re: Retirees and union members blow the whistle on GE’s low pension and health care benefits
06 Oct 2005
To the prior post:

You agreed to a contract without an inflation indexed pension or health care. Are you a consenting adult capable of making his or her own financial decisions?

Flip it around: Would your employer have a right to complain that you didn't voluntarily work a couple of extra years for free?
Re: Retirees and union members blow the whistle on GE’s low pension and health care benefits
07 Oct 2005
"You agreed to a contract without an inflation indexed pension or health care. Are you a consenting adult capable of making his or her own financial decisions?"

what a load of bull! the entire PROBLEM is that society is changing so rapidly that the way things *usta* work, when inflation wasn't so fast and folks and their employers actually felt loyalty for one another, doesn't work anymore. this is a progressive move by the union and, if GE actually searched around in it's greedy corporate heart and found the extra profits to help the people who got it where it's at, this kind of change would be revolutionary. i for one know plenty of people who are in their 60's, retired, and still work part-time or even full time to make enough money to survive in the modern day. younger folks may have the 401k plan, but pensions still exhist and should reflect the modern age. GE can afford it. Our elders cannot - GE should increase their pension and health care benefits!
Re: Retirees and union members blow the whistle on GE’s low pension and health care benefits
07 Oct 2005
Thanks TK, for a little reality.
Re: Retirees and union members blow the whistle on GE’s low pension and health care benefits
08 Oct 2005
Some economists even theorize that one of the major inflationary pressures of the 1970s was the preponderance of union contracts that pegged wage increases to productivity increases but not to inflation. I.E., inflation deflated real wages.
Re: Retirees and union members blow the whistle on GE’s low pension and health care benefits
10 Oct 2005
"what a load of bull! the entire PROBLEM is that society is changing so rapidly that the way things *usta* work, when inflation wasn't so fast"

We had extremely high inflation rates in the 1970's and 1930's. They are relatively low now, although higher than in the last 10 years.

"folks and their employers actually felt loyalty for one another, doesn't work anymore."

Loyalty ends when you cash your paycheck. You don't owe your employer anything outside what you are contracted to do. You don't voluntarily work for free out of a so-called sense of loyalty.

"i for one know plenty of people who are in their 60's, retired, and still work part-time or even full time to make enough money to survive in the modern day."

Waah. Poor baby boomers.
Re: Retirees and union members blow the whistle on GE’s low pension and health care benefits
19 Oct 2005
This is an outrage! Low pension and health care??? Show those bastards a good lession! Quit GE and get a job with better benefits. Without workers, GE is worthless!
Re: Retirees and union members blow the whistle on GE’s low pension and health care benefits
26 Oct 2005
I remember Kevin at the Stewards meetings in the early '70's, there were 12,000 people employed in Lynn at the time.

Kevin's gang took over the Union, SWP, there are 2500, employed there now.

Kev, you are awfully fat for a retiree.
Re: Retirees and union members blow the whistle on GE’s low pension and health care benefits
18 Nov 2005
if ge would stop spending money on spying on their employees they could raise the pension plans
Re: Retirees and union members blow the whistle on GE’s low pension and health care benefits
19 Dec 2005
How can I help?
A retiree in Fla
Thank you